ATO reiterates ‘underlying problems’ in SMSFs

The ATO still has concerns about some of the “underlying problems” and contraventions that continue to occur in the SMSF sector, according to the ATO’s acting assistant commissioner for SMSFs.

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, the ATO’s Michael Zeitlhofer said that “key contraventions” involve SMSF loans, in-house assets and the separation of assets.

“We continue to get a high percentage of contraventions in those areas and our advice [is to] continue having auditors … work with the trustees to identify those areas and highlight to the trustee where they’ve got these sorts of problems and continue to report them through to us,” he said.

“That then enables us to work with the auditors to get to those contraventions… [so they are] rectified appropriately.”

Mr Zeitlhofer added that the ATO is continuing to target the education of trustees, noting that under the new penalty powers, the ATO can compel trustees to undergo further education.

“We’re keen to support industry by following up with trustees where they’re not doing the right thing and so we’re hoping that those sort of problems start to become less and less over time,” he said.

Speaking at the Institute of Chartered Accountants' 2014 Business Forum recently, assistant commissioner for SMSFs Matthew Bambrick also said a continuing area of focus for the ATO is non-lodgement of SMSFs, despite the on-time lodgement figure increasing from 70 per cent to 80 per cent.

“We finally got it up that high, but that’s still not very good because that’s 20 per cent who aren’t lodging on time. So we’ve had a bit of a focus on that and [the] new penalty regime applies to non-lodgement as well - five penalty units. That’s not insignificant,” he said.

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